Optimism for Alabama, nation in 2021

By PAUL DEMARCO / Guest Columnist 

Note: This is an opinion column.

There will be a lot written about the year 2020 and all that occurred in this nation between the pandemic, civil unrest and the election.

But when we look back at the history books, what will they say about the state of Alabama in this unforgettable year.

Our state, like every other, struggled to come to terms with the spread of the coronavirus. Gov. Kay Ivey ordered a lock down for state citizens and businesses this past spring and schools also closed. Despite the efforts to protect against the pandemic, the state has had a high rate of infection and fatalities. The impact of the pandemic caused a devastating impact on the state’s economy, creating record unemployment and many businesses to struggle to stay open.

While we remember those we lost this past year, there is hope we will put the pandemic behind us soon with the vaccines now being distributed in the state and country.

Alabama also received a direct hit from Hurricane Sally this past September, which was the first landfall of a major hurricane since Ivan struck the state in 2004. Gulf Shores received a direct hit with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. The storm caused much damage to property and the agriculture industry in the state, particularly in Mobile and Baldwin counties. Hurricane Zeta struck a month later and created a path of destruction that left  damage in some 19 counties in Alabama.

However, Alabama has endured wars, natural disasters and other health crises in its 200 years and has survived and returned to thrive. It will do so again because of its people.

What we do know is the citizens of Alabama have strong faith and will take care of their neighbors, thus we can move into 2021 with optimism for the future.

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.